About this Show

Book TV

John Miller Education. (2011) John Miller. ('The Big Scrum How Teddy Roosevelt Saved Football.')

NETWORK

DURATION
00:45:00

RATING

SCANNED IN
San Francisco, CA, USA

SOURCE
Comcast Cable

TUNER
Channel 100 (651 MHz)

VIDEO CODEC
mpeg2video

AUDIO CODEC
ac3

PIXEL WIDTH
704

PIXEL HEIGHT
480

TOPIC FREQUENCY

Charleston 12, Theodore Roosevelt 8, Eliot 7, Roosevelt 7, America 4, Michigan 4, Us 3, New York 3, Ncaa 2, South Carolina 2, Charles Eliot 2, United States 2, Detroit Lions 2, Oliver Thompson 1, Alice 1, Bill Reid 1, John Mosby 1, Ann Arbor 1, Jon Miller 1, Lacrosse 1,
Borrow a DVD
of this show
  CSPAN    Book TV    John Miller  Education.  (2011) John Miller.  
   ('The Big Scrum How Teddy Roosevelt Saved Football.')  

    July 31, 2011
    2:15 - 3:00pm EDT  

2:15pm
sumter. it was erected believe it or not in the 1930s. charleston was so devastated by the civil war that he didn't have a lot of money to build monuments. if you look at richmond and you look at a lot of the cities in the south, this huge monument. but in many people in charleston were really broke. the city was devastated by the war. so, you know, this monument didn't get around being built until the 20th century. of course, there were grandchildren, there were people still alive who had been in the war. it's a monument to sort of the lost youth, the young men who fought, many of them died defending charleston from an invasion. people don't really think about this, but the union army over across the river bombarded charleston, with very served artillery.
2:16pm
and charleston was pretty devastated by the war. this hole individual looking at. took a lot of hits. and when we think about bombardment of the city, these were very powerful weapons. the civil war and the war was the first modern war. the weapons are not that different than the weapons of world war i. the city lost a lot of people. lost a lot of lives. lost a fortune. so this monument was very important to that generation that stand here today. maybe a little politically incorrect, but i think the appropriate. this city was defended by people who fought and died for a cause they believe, and the city i think many people still remember those people. this monument is you and i think it's a very poignant reminder of the young men who died and what really was a tragic war. >> for more information on
2:17pm
booktv's recent trip to charleston, south carolina, visit c-span.org/local content. >> next on booktv jon miller recounts president theodore roosevelt involvement in the reimagining of football which save the sport from being banned and ultimately to the creation of the national collegiate athletic association, the ncaa. this is about 40 minutes. >> if you're wondering what kind of knucklehead puts on a book about football at the start of baseball season, the answer is the same 10 of knucklehead who is a lifelong fan of the detroit lions here the good thing about being a lifelong fan of the detroit lions is that the experience teaches important
2:18pm
life lessons. for example, how to deal with severe and ongoing disappointment. i've learned that humor helps. who knows the difference between the detroit lions and a dollar bill? it turns out that from a dollar bill you can still get four quarters. [laughter] thank you. i'll be performing all week at aei. let's talk about football and theodore roosevelt. i'd like to start with a statistic. in 1905, 18 people died playing football. in 1905, 18 people died playing football. so we hear a lot today about the problem concussions and head injuries and long-term health effects of all that, that's a controversy in football today. but it's got nothing on the challenges that football faced a little more than a century ago.
2:19pm
so, let's go back in time. in 1876, theodore roosevelt attended his first football game. he was an 18 year old freshman at harvard university. he got on a train with a bunch of friends and they went to new haven, connecticut, where they watched the second ever football game played between harvard and yale. so in the history of college sports, there are a lot of great rivalries. michigan has ohio state. alabama has auburn. the heritage foundation and the brookings institution. harvard had yale. remember, the ivy league is not an athletic conference. in 18 '06 to play the second ever football game. the weather was lousy. it was cold. the winds were so strong that ships could it be the harbor. roosevelt shivered on the sidelines that day. as he watched the game, the
2:20pm
sport he saw was quite different from the one we know today. there were no quarterbacks. there were no wide receivers. there were no forward passes. football was in its infancy. before play began, the captains from the two teams met to discuss the rules they would play by. what would count for a score, how many people would be on the field at a time. they were like school kids at recess talking about where the sidelines would be, how to count blitzes, whether they played touched or tackle. this is what they did before that game. when it came to football, harvard was the teacher and yale was the student. just a few years before that came in 1876, harvard sent yale and elongated ball because up until that point that yale team had been practicing with like a soccer ball your harvard sent in this ball and since this is what we will play with.
2:21pm
it was shaped like a watermelon. the yale posted know what to do with it. they discussed fundamentals like do you kick this thing on the end or in the middle? they just didn't know. before the game started when the captains met on the field, harvard veterans agree to a couple of proposals that the yale team put for. the first have a lasting impact on how football is played. and that is that 11 men per site. up until that .15 was the custom. this was the first game that 11 men per side. and, of course, that continues today. the second suggestion would not shape the future of the game, but it would affect the outcome that day. they decided that touchdowns would not count for points. what they would do is give you an opportunity to score a point. in other words, you scored a touchdown, you wouldn't get six points. you would get no points but you would get an extra point to
2:22pm
count. it was the kick after the goal that would give the score. the ball would have to sue over a rope that was tied between a pair of poles and in some. so the game gets underway and harvard scores a touchdown. but under the rules of the day they don't get any points. they make the kick attempt, they miss. no points at all. at halftime it is a scoreless tie. the second half starts, deal comes out and they drive into harvard territory. a lanky freshman named walter camp, and a port name in history of football, was a play that day, tried to shovel the backward -- ball back with. the ball bounced and took one of those funny hops and football can take and confuse the most veteran player. takes one of these funny hops and oliver thompson in the backfield, another yale player decide to take a chance but he puts his foot to the ball and kick some 35 yards out at an
2:23pm
improbable angle and the ball sails over the rope between the upper rights. so yale has a score. it is one to nothing, yale. and that's how the game ended. one nothing, yale over harvard in 1876. harvard's lost frustrated roosevelt. in a letter to his mother the next day he didn't say whether he enjoyed himself. the future president -- he couldn't anticipate the critical role he would play in the games future. but he did give voice to the frustration we all know, the agony of defeat. i am sorry to say we were beaten, he wrote to his mother. principally because our opponents played very foul. in a moment i'll talk more about teddy roosevelt, what he did to save football but i would like to say a few things about why football matters to me personally and i think to americans generally. i met my wife on which we
2:24pm
football game in ann arbor. we walked from our dorm across campus to michigan stadium. at least that's my first clear memory of her. we didn't start dating until basketball season. but our bond was formed out of a mutual love of the maize and blue. my romance with college football action goes back for the with my father teaching me how to sing hail to the victors as a boy. in our home when we talk about the carter era, we weren't talking about a troubled presence in the 1970s. we are talking about a time when anthony carter were a winged helmet and scored touchdowns. when i attended my football games at michigan as a student, along with my future bride and more than 100,000 of our closest friends, it dawned on me that these games are not just pieces of pure entertainment, they are actually coming there more than
2:25pm
athletic competitions. they are cultural events of deep significance. they can't ignite a diverse campus of english majors in engineering students. they can bring a state together. alumni and not alumni. black and white. white-collar engineers and union lunchbucket guys. of football can bring them all together. conversations about the team our social icebreakers. the rich red reduce air is over? yeah, i'm glad that era is over. they can bring people together in a way few other things can. love what college football team, whether the texas longhorns or the hillsdale chargers, is almost tribal. in some cases such as my own, it is practically inherited. whatever its origin and has the power to form lifelong blitzes and passions. when i hear the michigan fight
2:26pm
song, isa get a chill down my spine. it's a close cousin to patriotism, this evening. and, in fact, on a brisk autumn afternoon my three main allegiances are to god, family and football. let's face it. objectively speaking, football is an awesome sport. no other game of such combination of brute force and grace, pure grace. 99-yard sprint and goal line stand. the crashing bodies at the line of scrimmage and the careful choreography of well executed plays involving 11 men on the field. the infantry combat of a rushing attack, and a work of a passing game. there's a strong intellectual dimension as well. no sport demands more meticulous planning or quick calculations and football. this is a pursuit not just for players and fans that you them on but for the coaches and the
2:27pm
armchair generals second-guess their every decision. little wonder that football has become the most popular sport in the united states, millions of kids played under friday night lights. million more fans fill up stadiums and watch on television on fall weekends. americans are probably more likely to know the name of their favorite team's quarterback than they are to know the name of the congressmen. there's a good case to be made that they have their priorities straight. so football occupies a central place in our lives. yet there was a moment when football almost was taken away from us. a time when its very existence was in mortal peril, because a collection of progressive prohibitionists tried to ban the game. they objected to its violence and their favorite solution was to smother a newborn sport in its cradle. had the enemies of football gotten their way, they might have erase one of america's
2:28pm
great pastimes from our culture. it's took the remarkable and other -- it to the remarkable effort of theodore roosevelt. as i mentioned modern controversy a with us. about hugo "time" magazine put a deflated football on its cover with the headline too dangerous for its own good. then there's that statistic i shared earlier in 1905, 18 people died playing football. the sad thing is this was not unusual. in fact, it was normal. every year this kind of thing was going on. a dozen or more people would die. even more suffered grievous injuries. a lot of the casualties were kids in sandlot games. but is also affected big time college football. there were no professional leaks back them. the biggest game for college football games. players at university of georgia, virginia, army, navy, union college died playing football.
2:29pm
football isn't a contact sport. it's a collision sport. this was especially true in its early years. football always prized size, strength and so on. this was true back then. the game look more like rugby than what we know today. and it was almost a series of goal line stands over and over again. as masses of bodies clashed and grappled without the benefit of protective gear. the era of leather heads lay in the future. nobody wore helmets, face mask, shoulder pads. that was all just coming into practice. during the frequent pile up hidden from view of referees players would wrestle for branch by throwing punches and jabbing elbows. the most unsporting participants would try and challenge eyes.
2:30pm
bruises, sprains and other injuries were taken for granted. more serious impairment such as cracked bones and knock heads were causes for greater concern, a generally accepted as unfortunate byproducts of an entertaining and demanding pastime. the deaths were the worst. they weren't just freak accident as much as the inevitable toll of an activity that encourage strong minty crashed into each other over and over over the course of an afternoon. and ordinary tackle could be a life-threatening calamity when the hard thrusting boot of the bollettieri hits the head of a guy trying to tackle him. this slaughter horrified, they wanted that marriage remove violence from the sport but to ban it altogether. at the dawn of the progressive era, the prohibition of football became a social and political movement whose most outspoken proponents include the renowned
2:31pm
harvard president charles eliot, frontier scout and university of wisconsin professor frederick jackson turner, muckraking journalists, even the aging confederate general john mosby. the new york evening post attacked the sport. so did the nation, an influential magazine of news and opinion. which were the colleges were becoming quote huge training ground for young gladiators around many spectators roar as reward and the roman amphitheater. "the new york times" bemoaned football strand towards mayhem and homicide. but two weeks after printing those words the times ran a new editorial. the headline was too curable evils. the first evil the address was the lynching of blacks in the south. the second evil they addressed was football. the main figure in this movement to ban football was charles
2:32pm
eliot, the president of harvard. he was probably the single most important person in history of higher education in the united states. we think of harvard as a great american university. a lot of it goes back to charles eliot and what he did in the course of four years when he was president of the college. he was the harvard what ed fuller has been to the heritage foundation like today. he was president for 40 years, longer than anybody before or since. he radically rearranged the way harvard educated young people. he edited his elective courses, started professional schools, eliminate compulsory worship, the list of these reforms is a long. he also hated team sport. what bothered him most was competition and how it motivated players to conduct themselves in ways he considered and becoming a gentleman. if baseball and football were audible pastimes he reasoned, why did they require umpires and
2:33pm
referees? again that needs to be watched is not fit for genuine sportsman, he once said. eliot thought a baseball pitcher who shows a curveball engage in the act of deception, which was treacherous. football distressed him even more. he believed it was improper for a running back to attack the weakest part of an opponent of an opposing teams going. he thought the proper thing to do is protect the strongest part. that's what a gentleman would do. he liked almost nothing about the game. most of all he despised its violence. time and again he condemned football as evil. one of his main adversaries as walter camp, the guy who played in the game teddy roosevelt watched in 1876. he was a pretty good football player but he really made his mark as a coach and rules maker. is the closest thing football has to a founding father. he invented the position of quarterback, the concept of possession and downs and line of scrimmage and formations.
2:34pm
the way the game was scored on virtually every aspect, transformative smack. in 1880s and 1890s. he was also a great salesman of the sport who wrote books and newspaper articles to promote the game and make it popular. he and a journalist collaborate to invent the idea of the all-american, a term that is so now but one that didn't exist before. one of his primary motivations was to encourage controversy about who should be on the all-american team each year. he help make football not only a great game to play and watch. he also made it a great game to discuss and debate. in the rivalry between eliot and camp we see what the ongoing conflicts in american politics. a fight between the progressive in their dreams of a world without risk, and resistance to this agenda. eliot and the progressive identified a genuine problem with football, but their preferred solution was radical. they want to regulate football
2:35pm
out of existence because they believed its participants were not capable of making their own judgments about the costs and benefits of the game. instead, he leads would relieve players of the burden of choosing to play or not to play. they would take with the freedom to play for the sake of its players. into this struggle, stepped theodore roosevelt, when the most remarkable and ever to walk across the stage of american politics. as a boy who grew up with a terrible handicap. he suffered from chronic asthma. he was so sick that many of his relatives wondered if he would survive into his adulthood. at that time is not uncommon for children not to survive. his parents were so desperate to cure his asthma they tried everything they could think of, resorting into cures like having the poor kid smokes cigars. nothing worked. eventually his folks concluded that he would simply have to overcome his disability. there's a story in roosevelt family lore in which the father
2:36pm
summons the boys. theater, he says, you have the money but you have not the body. and without the help of the body the mind cannot go as far as it should. you must make your body. upon hearing this he threw back his head, said i will make my body. is about 11 years old. soon after he began to exercise in the gym. later on he took boxing lessons and he hunted. he really did make his body. the asthma would stay with him for years but eventually it would slip away as it often does. by the time he was an adult it was mostly gone. the lesson was that a commitment to physical fitness could take a scrawny little boy and turning into a vigorous young man. as roosevelt was coming to believe this he was also becoming a fan of football. as with so many other americans. roosevelt remained a fan as he graduated from harvard and enter
2:37pm
politics, branched out west and became an increasingly visible public figure. in 1895, shortly before he became president of the new york city police commission, he wrote a letter to walter camp. it's a great letter and i'm going to read about 300 words from it. here's what he said. i am very glad to have a chance of expressing to you the obligation which i feel all americans are under to you for your championship of athletics. the man on the farm and in the workshop here as in other countries is apt to get in a physical work, but we are tending steadily in america to produce sedentary collapses, i don't think these worried about to which the u.k. moshing, if i missed the athletic spirit has saved us. of all games i personally like football the best. and i would rather see my boys play and see them play any other. i have no patience with people who claim against it because it is roughly and occasional entries. the rough play is confined
2:38pm
within man and audible limits is an advantage. it is a good thing to have a personal contact about which the new york evening post snarls so much, and novell is worth his salt to mind an occasional bruise or cut. been nearside i was able to play football in college and i never cared for rowing or baseball. so i did all my work in boxing or wrestling. they are both good exercises but they are not up to football. i am utterly disgusted at the attitude of president eliot and the harvard faculty about football. i do not give a snap for a good man who can't fight and hold his own in the world. a citizen has got to be decent of course. that is the first requisite, but the second and just import it he shall be efficient and he can't be efficient and less he is mainly. nothing has impressed me more meeting college graduates during 15 years i've been out of college and the fact that on average the men who have counted most have been those who had sound bodies. so, roosevelt thought -- saw
2:39pm
football as more of a diversion. he believed it so much that in 1898 when his recruiting the rough riders, another stricken he went out to san antonio and one to sign up a bunch of cowboys and westerners to send as rough riders. if you read his memoirs that's all true. he also said he wants college football players. and he signed them up. well, he thought he would give them the expense of athletics, give them the study would take to win a war in cuba. the duke of wellington reportedly once said that the battle of waterloo was won on the playing field. roosevelt never seen anything quite so picky about the battle of san juan hill, but when he emerged from the spanish-american war as a national hero, one who was talked about as possibly presidential timber, he knew how much he owed, not just to the rough riders, but to the culture of manliness and risk-taking that have shaped them.
2:40pm
like roosevelt, our society values sports. though we don't always think about why or why we should. my kids have played football, baseball, hockey, soccer, lacrosse. in the family were fairly sports oriented. it insourcing to think about a lot of questions, why do we want our kids to play sports? why not let them spend more time in front of the tv or studied ancient greek literature? a lot of parents will reply with the obvious fact that sports are good for fitness. they will also discuss the intangible benefits of learning about teamwork, building character, things like that. it turns out that there really is something to all this. in. research shows us that kids who play sports stay in school longer. as adults they vote more often. and as adults they earn more money. explaining why this is true, is
2:41pm
trickier. but it probably has something to do with developing a competitive instinct and a desire for achievement. roosevelt was probably correct in believing that sports influence the character of nations. americans are much more likely than europeans to play sports. we are also more likely to attribute economic success to hard work. it may be that sports are a manifestation, or possibly even a source of american exceptionalism. in 1899, roosevelt wrote a kids version of his famous speech on the strenuous life, probably the most famous speech advocate. he described how boy can grow into the kind of american man that america can be really proud. for roosevelt this meant playing sports. the great growth and the love of athletics sports had an excellent effect and increased
2:42pm
manliness. he singled out, and he conclude with a direct reference to what may be regarded as the roughest sport fall, quote, in short, in life as in a football game, the principal default is hit the line hard, don't follow in short, but a line hard. that was his voice for kids. soon enough roosevelt became one of the hardest hitting chief executives ever to occupy the white house. his overall political legacy is mixed, but he was unfailingly colorful. as roosevelt presided in washington, football remained controversial. at harvard, eliot continued his crusade for prohibition. roosevelt was persuaded to act. he invited walter camp from yale to the white house and also coaches from harvard and princeton. these were the three biggest college football programs at the
2:43pm
time. a lot has changed since then but those with a three biggest programs at the time. invites them to the white house for football summit. football is on trial, said roosevelt, in their private meeting. because i believe in the game i want to do all i can to save it. he encouraged the coaches to eliminate brutality and they promised they would. whether they really meant it was another matter. walter camp didn't see anything wrong with the way football was played. he practically invented the game, and over the years he tweaked the rules and he thought he got things just about right by 1905. he was very happy with the way the ball was. harvard's coach, however, was a young man. he took roosevelt more seriously. as a harvard man, he understood the threat of football differently. he knew that eliot still wanted to eliminate the game and within weeks of meeting roosevelt came to fear that eliot was indicted on the verge of success at
2:44pm
harvard. this almost certainly would have encouraged harvard to drop the sport, it would have encouraged other colleges to do the same. they were all looking to harvard for leadership. this would have endangered the future of football in america. so at the end of the 1905 season, reid plotter with a group of reform minded colleagues to form an organization that today we know of as the ncaa. they approved a set of sweeping rule changes to reduce football violence. in committee meetings reid outmaneuver camp and received critical behind the scene support from roosevelt. that off-season football experienced an extreme makeover. they charge necessary for first and increased from five yards to 10. the rules makers also created a neutral zone at the line of scrimmage, limited number of players who could line up in the backfield, and made a personal foul a heavily penalized fraction. one of my favorite rules is a
2:45pm
band that tossing a ball carriers. no longer could you throw guys across the line. these were important provisions, but no one that would transform the sport was the advent of the forward pass. because up until that point football was a game of running and kicking. there was no passing. they were quarterbacks but there were no wide receivers. for years the number of football men had wanted to introduce the forward pass. among them was a coach named john heisman. but camp had always block them. this change after roosevelt intervention. bill reads committee, decided to permit the forward pass and ordered to open up the game. it took them a few years to get the rule right. coaches and teams didn't always know how to take advantage of the latest provision. outside to make football more aerodynamic. turned water into shape of the
2:46pm
football we know today. eventually, however, it all clicked. and on november 1, 1913, football moved irreversibly into the modern era. army, the u.s. military academy, west point, had one of the best teams in the country. they were considered real national championship contenders that year. on a saturday afternoon they were scheduled to play a game against a little-known catholic school from the midwest. army wants big score, red headline in "the new york times" that morning. it was going to be a blowout. just like when michigan played appalachian state a few years ago. [laughter] welcome you can probably guess the rest of the story. a little-known catholic school from the midwest, notre dame, nude rodney and his teammates launched football's first true there were, think again and again for touchdowns.
2:47pm
they won 35-14. the army players were hopelessly confused and chagrin before notre dame's great plan and their style of old-fashioned blind smashing there was no match for the spectacular and highly respected attack of the indiana collision. a cadet named dwight eisenhower watched from the sidelines. he played for the army team but he had an injury that day and couldn't perform. everything has gone wrong, he wrote to his girlfriend. the football team got the most gloriously by notre dame. so before the know had with her about notre dame before. after that everyone knew notre dame was a football powerhouse. when we think of notre dame the football school today, it started with that breaking. and with that came football long
2:48pm
first chapter came to a close. and again we enjoy today, the distinctively american game, was born. violence in football didn't in. the sport solved its problem and improve its quality at the same time, but nobody speaks of prohibiting football anymore. when many influential people did, theodore roosevelt stepped in and played an unheralded but critical role in the sports development and preservation. i think as a general rule, we don't want our politicians thrust themselves into our sport. the only thing that can make the bowl championship series worse is congressional oversight. right? but the example of roosevelt does show that a skillful leader can have a light touch to solve a vexing problem. with the nfl season threat my blackout and meeting cancellation this year, who doesn't wish that football had a teddy roosevelt today?
2:49pm
decades after roosevelt involved in football, the harvard coach hailed his role. except for this chain of events, there might not be no such thing as american football as we know it, he wrote. you asked me whether president theodore roosevelt helped save the game. i can tell you that he did. theodore roosevelt took on many roles in american life. war hero, trust buster, canal builder, big stick wielding diplomat. but he deserves another title as well. he may have been football's most indispensable fan. thank you. [applause] >> i know john will take questions from the. it's interesting to hear roosevelt with a light touch. surprisingly. i also thought immediately in the beginning of your detroit lions discussion that they
2:50pm
epitomize the discussion of instead as i have always understood. keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result. but the redskins are getting close. if you have any questions for john, please raise your hand. the microphone will come to you. questions from the football audience? >> thank you very much. my name is bill black. did you mission that the ncaa was born out of this meeting? >> yes. >> to the other sports, a long after this? >> so, so football was governed by a rules committee from years. the walter camp of course helped organize, dominate throughout the 1880s, the 1890s. but there was a rules committee that had representatives from the major schools. every winter they would meet and they would tweak the rules and
2:51pm
develop the sport basically. will, in 1905, bill reid decided that with some other figures in higher education they decided, you know, this rules committee is not going to change the think about football. they will not do what needs to be desecrated separate organization and tried to sign up other, a number of colleges to join the. so briefly go to organ stations competing for members and some. and reid got harbor to join. and harvard joining with the help of roosevelt, too, was critical so it became the common organization. a few years later it renamed itself the ncaa. and i would type it gathered other collegiate sports under its umbrella. but started as a football rules committee.
2:52pm
>> i was wondering, you mentioned you thought that today no one really questioned or attacks the ball as a way they did in the early 20 century. i was wondering if you might think that alice actually untrue with the modern feminist movement, and their attacks, if that would encourage this kind of masculinity that overpowers over rights of women? >> that's a good point. i don't mean to suggest that football is on criticized today. it's completely different from what it was like a century ago though. there aren't modern controversies. congress has held hearings on concussions in football. there's a lot of concern about the long-term health effects that football can have on people. the nfl did a study where they found that nfl veterans i think are four or five times more likely to suffer from dementia
2:53pm
than a member of the general public. you can imagine why that may be true. there's a lot of ongoing research in this area, debates about the equipment and tweeting the rules. the nfl just changed the kickoff will pursue a kickoff from three-yard line rather than -- they moved five yards. what's going to happen is there will be more touchbacks. the next time there the next time there's an nfl nfl season there will be more touchbacks and less kick returns. kick returns are famously dangerous play. so they're doing things like that. there are controversies about, what was the organization that criticized super bowl for domestic violence, i think that was shown to be not true, or at least unproven. but football does come under attack in there are people who don't care for it.
2:54pm
but they are not going to stop it the way these progressive era prohibitionists tried to do. and may have succeeded in doing it would have been for these innovations. [inaudible] any final comment? other that i will sell the book for you. we do have copies up, and fail before you in the lobby. i know john would be glad to sign them and talk to further about this topic. thank you for your attention and we hope to see you again soon at the heritage. [applause] >> for more information visit the author's website, heymiller.com. >> booktv visited charleston, south carolina, with our cable affiliate comcast. for more information visit
2:55pm
c-span.org/localcontent. and on booktv a look at the profits and preserving books. -- the process of preserving books. >> i am head of special collections. many of the books here in special collections were books that were donated by private citizens in charleston, and that form the core of the collection here at the college of charleston. john mckenzie was a goose creek planter and a lawyer by education. he was educated in cambridge. he received his law degree in the 17 '50s, but never practiced law. he accumulated a library of about 800 books. we have the inventory of the books that was done in 1772.
2:56pm
he passed away in 1771. it's about 800 titles. the books were stored at the charleston library society. when he died in 1771, the college of charleston had no building, no students. so they were stored at the library society. and charleston had a fire in 1778. out of the mckenzie books of the 800, probably 77 exists today. what the college of charleston, friends of the library are trying to reestablish, mckinsey's library much like the library of congress reestablish thomas jefferson's library. one of the things that we have done is to the books you see survived the fire are not in great shape. i have a grant this summer and i'm working with one of the
2:57pm
students, and i'm teaching him to do some leather binding. we're going to work on 13 of the volumes this summer. the volumes date from about 1660, to about 1760. so those arranged of the volumes but again, he died in 1771. the volumes deal a lot with history, politics, religion, art and plays, and classics. i'm going to walk through some of the process that we are doing. you can see the spine on this book had been removed. and the courts have fallen off. so we are going to have to re- so this book. in order to do that, what we do is we take this book apart to the stage. that's what this is. this is one of the books that have been taken a part. in the various signatures.
2:58pm
in order to be able to transfer the book, what we do is we use some japanese tissue and we create the signatures. and you can see that japanese tissue here and we've done a little repair here a on the book. and this is what we have done. you can see, the book has expanded a little bit but this is what the book looks like after it has the tissue repair. and we put a weight on it to keep it flat. then what we do is we take the book after it's been put back in the signatures and attached the japanese tissue repair, this is called a sewing thing. what we do is we take some linen thread that has been waxed and we will sew each signature to these courts. they were originally sewn on
2:59pm
raised courts. and so this is the sewing frame that it will be sewn on. this is what we use for cords. this is some of the linen thread we used to sew the book. this is some of, this is what the japanese tissue looks like. this is, i think this is, we've been using this in the book. and we use, this is the skin of brown calf, and this is what we were just to cover the book. i've got three books that we covered that we haven't -- hopefully i have them. this is one and you can see where we have put this in. and you can see that it is sewn on the raised cords.